Ideas for Children: Pretend Veterinary Play Area

Written by carolyn scheidies
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Ideas for Children: Pretend Veterinary Play Area
A play area helps children try out veterinarian medicine on stuffed pets. (stuffed bear image by jimcox40 from

If your child has a heart to help animals and may be a budding veterinarian, turn part of her bedroom, a playroom or a corner of the finished basement into a pretend veterinary play area. With ingenuity and creativity you can provide your child, who is always trying to "fix" up her stuffed animals, a place and the tools to do just that.

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The Clinic

Figure out the best place to create the pretend veterinary play area. You'll need at least a 4- or 5-foot space to create the pretend veterinary play area. You'll want it large enough for your child to move around in easily without feeling cramped. Paint the walls a neutral soft blue or rose. Stencil and paint animals on the wall, adding a bandage on one, a nurse's hat with the red cross on another. Add other symbols of medicine such as a stethoscope and bandages. You can also copy pictures from books or download them from the Internet, then enlarge, laminate and fasten them onto the walls with removable tape.


A pretend veterinary play area needs an examination table. You can use a kid's-sized table or a low chest of drawers with a flat top. The drawers can be used to store medical equipment. If you use a table without drawers, you'll need a set of drawers. An inexpensive set of plastic drawers on rollers will work just fine. Add a non-skid mat to the "examination" surface. Use plastic bins as animal holding cages for sick animals. Add a small chair to the pretend veterinary play area and shelves for several books on animals.

Equip the Clinic

Equipment for the pretend veterinary play area consists of a medical kit you buy for any young doctor or nurse. You can also put together a medical kit specially designed for the pretend veterinary play area. You'll need a play stethoscope, magnifying glass, pretend syringes, empty medicine bottles and ace bandages. Use the smaller size as the wide ace bandages are long and awkward for most children to manipulate. Cut a long ace bandage into shorter lengths for easier use. Use ace bandages that stick back to the bandage. Add a lab coat. This can be a long white shirt with cut off sleeves. Make a thermometer from a piece of dowel rod. Round off both ends and mark temperatures as with a real thermometer. Add a clipboard with pages for patient notes. Equipment also means pet care with collars, leashes and grooming supplies.

Business Cards and More

Make the pretend veterinary play area more professional by creating business cards for your budding veterinarian. Have your child invent a name for the veterinary clinic. Create posters she can post on the door. Download directions for basic animal care, then frame and hang them on the walls of the pretend veterinary play area. Create a veterinarian certificate to also hang on the wall.


Patients are critical to a pretend veterinary play area. Arrange a "waiting" area where "sick" animals can sit while waiting for attention. This can be a low bench or shelf unit along one wall. Make a prominent place for one large animal or teddy bear. Add a nurse's hat or band with a red cross on it to signify that this is your child's assistant nurse.

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